I had just arrived at Long Meadow Golf Club for the GCSA of New England board meeting in advance of the nine-hole golf and membership meeting. I was in a great mood as the facility holds a special place in my past. I had caddied in the Lowell (MA) City Tournament for a family friend in my youth (about a thousand years ago), and grew up not too far away in Dracut, Massachusetts. Oh, and it wasn’t far from home.
The buzzing noise going off in the lounge area when I walked in was, well, alarming! As the door closes behind me, a staff member scurries past on his way onto the golf course carrying an automated external defibrillators (AED). Another staff member can be heard telling someone on the phone “we have a man down.” Minutes later, an ambulance can be seen following a utility vehicle onto the property.
I was to learn later that it was a well-liked, long time member who went into cardiac arrest on the first hole. He was in “touch-and-go” condition when the ambulance finally left.
My thoughts were with him the entire day, and still are as I write this article, but I am not looking to dwell on the seriousness of the member’s health issue. What I do want to elaborate on are a few key items that may have saved his life:
The alarm: There was no doubt about what was happening. The alarm was indeed to alert staff that there was an emergency taking place.
The plan: One of the Long Meadow board members joined our group after the meeting portion had concluded and we had a chance to chat. It was then that I learned that Long Meadow does indeed have a plan for medical emergencies, and that the staff have had drills in the recent past.
The AED: It was my understanding through comments of those with knowledge of the situation, that the AED was utilized. What an asset.
I would really like this situation to raise awareness to you and your facilities. What would happen if this were to occur at your course? Is there a plan in place? Are there personnel on staff that are trained in CPR and the operation of an AED? Is there an AED on the property? If the clubhouse is an answer to any of the above then please answer another question; who is most likely to encounter a member or patron under medical duress while playing golf, the clubhouse staff or grounds staff? Are you trained to handle such a situation, is your assistant? Is the cost of training a question or issue? If so, what is the value your facility places on the safety of your membership or customers, because you or someone on your staff may very well be the one to respond to a golfer in need of medical assistance first!
In GCSA of New England's October issue of The Newsletter, I opined about the opportunity to utilize the staff to plan for success in the 2016 season. Perhaps within that SCOR plan development – under “opportunities” – CPR/AED training and safety plan procedures should be added.
I am truly hopeful that Long Meadow’s alarm, plan and AED provided one of their members a fighting chance today. My thoughts and prayers are with him.